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Relative motions of fragments of the split comets. I - A new approachA hypothesis is proposed which interprets the relative motion of two fragments of a split comet in terms of a slight difference between their effective solar attraction rather than in terms of the impulse imparted to them at separation. A quantitative version of this hypothesis is formulated by assuming that the difference in effective solar attraction varies with heliocentric distance in direct proportion to the actual solar attraction so that the ratio of the two forces is constant and equal to a measure of the relative effect between the two fragments under consideration. Results obtained using this formulation are compared with observational evidence on the split comets P/Biela, Liais 1860 I, 1882 II, P/Brooks 2 1889 V, Swift 1899 I, Kopff 1905 IV, Mellish 1915 II, Taylor 1916 I, 1947 XII, Wirtanen 1957 VI, Ikeya-Seki 1965 VIII, Kohoutek 1970 III, and West 1975n. The hypothesis is found to fail only in the case of comet Wirtanen 1957 VI. Some unusual phenomena associated with split comets are examined.
Document ID
19770044543
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Authors
Sekanina, Z. (Harvard College Observatory and Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Cambridge, Mass., United States)
Date Acquired
August 8, 2013
Publication Date
March 1, 1977
Publication Information
Publication: Icarus
Volume: 30
Subject Category
ASTRONOMY
Funding Number(s)
CONTRACT_GRANT: NGR-09-015-159
CONTRACT_GRANT: NSG-7082
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Other